How should your profile look on social media, what content should you post to attract the attention of your audience, and how to make them notice you – we can get such tips by consulting experts, watching an online course, or reading some articles. Some people don’t even need these tools – having established their skills naturally, they intuitively feel how to introduce themselves and their organization properly. Others choose a theory-based path – first, they think of their personal brand strategy and only then take action. Which of these ways is better?
What is a strong personal brand?
How strong is my personal brand? We can only partially measure it objectively. First, we need to separate two terms – identity and image. Identity can usually be described as an impression we want to create in the eyes of others. Image is a consequence of our actions – how others see us. The bigger the overlap between the identity and the image – if people perceive us the way we want to be perceived – the stronger our personal brand should be considered. Often, people wonder how to understand whether they are perceived in a way they identify themselves. We don’t have to understand this literally, but when developing your personal brand strategically, you need to set goals and decide how to measure them. Measurable progress will often be the result of the overlap between the identity and image – the audience, when interpreting who we are and what value we can create, will pay us back with attention, requests, orders, or other criteria which we decide on when setting the goals.
Strategical approach to developing a personal brand
The key to a strong personal brand is consistency. If you want to become known and seen within your chosen audiences, it is crucial to understand your identity – decide on the keywords you wish others would remember you by. These are professional strengths, personal characteristics, and values. Consistent use of these keywords in your content on social media and consistent representation of them with your action will contribute significantly to developing a strong personal brand. Oftentimes, we see cases where people declare certain values but act against them. To illustrate it, let’s remember some famous examples. Cyclist Lance Armstrong got involved in a doping scandal of the century, even though he used to be an inspiration for sports enthusiasts and oncologic patients. TV show host, actor, and producer Ellen DeGeneres saw the ratings of her talk show “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” drop by 1 million after, in 2020, the show’s employees publicly complained they were working in a toxic environment. They claimed that Ellen DeGeneres is only nice in front of the cameras, while the reality was different. This year, we heard the announcement that the show would not be continued.
There are good examples, too. For years, actors like Morgan Freeman or Tom Hanks have been making it to the lists of the most reliable celebrities. Tom Hanks, by the way, was one of the first public figures to communicate about how he got sick with covid openly. On various lists conducted by the media, we will also often find Oprah Winfrey and Michelle Obama. By representing their values and personalities with consistent actions, these people have created a reliable image in the eyes of their audience. But the risks to fail always remain, and the better known the person is, the higher the chances are that the audience will notice.
Going back to the strategic development of a personal brand, here are the main steps to take: set a goal, identify your target audience, and positioning. Then, move on to tactical actions – choose your channels and communicate consistently.
Intuition pays off, too
“I do what I like, I create whatever content I enjoy, and the audience comes to me naturally. What strategies and plans are you talking about?” This is something you have probably heard from influencers with impressive follower numbers. Today, thanks to social media, everyone who creates something new, unusual, or interesting can get plenty of attention. However, we need to get back to consistency here – if it doesn’t exist, the chances to get noticed and attract steady engagement are lower.
Creating your image based on intuition rather than strategy is a possible approach that has been successfully proved by many people we know today. However, by being aware of the main principles of developing a personal brand, the effects of being known and visible can be increased even further. Even though deep analysis is not required in most cases and trusting your instincts takes over, being subconsciously familiar with the principles will certainly do no harm.
There are plenty of successful cases when people – thanks to their unique personal characteristics or interests – have developed their personal brand to become known and visible, it is still worth familiarizing with the strategic approach. By listening to our intuition and, at the same time, understanding our audience and how we wish to position ourselves, we can concentrate on the most important channels and consistently create content that will be valuable for our audience.
You may find this article in the Lithuanian language here.